This was said by participants in a roundtable organized by South East Asian Cooperation (Seaco) Foundation and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation at the Radisson Blu Water Garden hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday
Regional collaboration is essential for closer trade integration, stronger institutions and financial links in the Southeast Asian region.
This was said by participants in a roundtable organized by South East Asian Cooperation (Seaco) Foundation and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation at the Radisson Blu Water Garden hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, inaugurated the discussion as chief guest, while Salahuddin Kasem Khan, executive chairman, Seaco Foundation and Tun Musa Hitam, chairman of WIEF Foundation, were also present.
The theme of the discussion was "Regional Collaboration: Transforming Economies," beside looking into the future direction of the halal industry as well as opportunities for infrastructure development.
"Both regional and international cooperation are the government's vital focus area," said Salman, adding, "In order to achieve the goal, already we have identified a number of elements. Skills development in our densely populated country is the first challenge. Many say large population is a liability, but we say it is an asset."
He also cited investment of all kinds as the second element of achieving that goal.
The adviser also said to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, they had to create a digital backbone starting from rural level across the country.
“Our government has set a data centre for every 2,500 unions in the country. Now we are connecting over 5,000 primary and secondary schools to those centers and providing each school with computers,” Salman added.
“Seaco believes that the way to raise the socioeconomic situation of a community is through trade, investment, tourism and overall cooperation and economies connected regionally, while financial institutions such as Islamic Development Bank (IDB) can play a role under their special development program (SDP),” said Salahuddin Kasem Khan, executive chairman, Seaco Foundation and international advisory panel member of WIEF Foundation.
They stressed that the private and public sectors from South-South East Asian economies would have further understanding of Islamic finance and banking as an alternative to conventional banking, as well as financing infrastructure investment such as sukuk in the power, transport and social infrastructure sectors.
A sukuk is an Islamic financial certificate, similar to a bond in Western finance.
Chairman of WIEF Foundation Tun Musa Hitam said this discussion would help them build closer trade integration, stronger institutions and financial links in the region.